Engaged Met Police detective who groped female officer’s breasts at Christmas party says ‘she told people she fancied me and was going to come after me’
A Met detective accused of groping a female officer’s breasts at the Christmas party told a hearing he was ‘absolutely certain’ she consented – because she fancied him.
DI Jonathan Kent placed his hands on the officer’s bottom and chest after they danced together at the Sway Bar in Holborn, central London, on December 12, 2019.
They had hugged and kissed after leaving the dancefloor together before the woman reminded Kent of his ‘fiancée and children’.
Kent has accepted he breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy.
But he maintains the woman consented to the touching.
The complainant became a junior police constable in Kent’s division in February 2019.
Met Detective Inspector Jonathan Kent placed his hand on the officer’s bottom in Sway club
They both danced at trendy Sway Bar in Holborn, central London, on December 12, 2019
Giving evidence via video link today Kent said it was well known, in the office, that she found him attractive.
He insisted: ‘I had heard from various sources at different times. It was sort of banter in the office.
‘She had said to various people at various times that she fancied me and that she was going to come after me.’
On the evening of the Christmas party, the team had stopped off at a pub in Covent Garden before heading to Holborn.
‘I noticed in the pub she was making eye contact and holding eye contact a number of times whilst having a drink,’ Kent said.
At the Sway Bar, the panel heard that Kent and the woman remained at the dining table with a small group of officers to finish leftover bottles of wine.
Met Detective Inspector Jonathan Kent says the touching was consensual – she denies that
The misconduct hearing is at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in central London
The former inspector said: ‘As the meal was progressing we were speaking more informally with each other.
‘She sat next to me, touching me, touching my knee.’
Later in the evening the two were dancing, as part of a group and also separately, including her ‘gyrating’ on him.
‘I took that whole thing to be very flirtatious behaviour and I was probably being flirtatious myself as well and in my mind it was being received well,’ Kent said.
‘I had absolutely no indication that what I was doing was not welcome or accepted.
He added: ‘She was going out for a cigarette.
‘She asked me to go out with her.
‘It was a continuation of the flirtatious atmosphere that was between us.
‘It was a two-way thing.’
Kent accepted that he touched her bottom, her breasts, and her crotch.
He added that while he is ‘ashamed’ of those actions he is certain it was what his colleague wanted.
‘She was saying she liked me, she fancied me, she wanted to do something, but what if somebody sees us, and what about your family.
‘But there was no message to say what you are doing is wrong or I don’t want this.’
He added: ‘It is a matter of huge regret for me.
‘I totally accept that I let myself down personally and professionally.
‘I went out on a Christmas do, had too much to drink and conducted myself in a manner that is not consistent with my character.
‘I am deeply sorry to everybody who has had to work as part of this unpleasant process.
‘I am very sorry to her as well for any trouble that she has been put towards.
‘For whatever hardship she suffered as a result of this I’m very very sorry.’
Kent – now described as a ‘former DI’ based at the Met Police Central West Command Unit – has accepted he breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy as well as discreditable conduct.
But he maintains those breaches amount to misconduct, not gross misconduct.
The hearing, at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in central London, continues.